NY Times Study: Americans Are “Open”to “Chinese” Goods

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 10:26
Posted in category Uncategorized

for the last few months, there have been few China related topics discussed more than the 2007 lead tainted toys, and more generally, product safety. Fingers have been pointed, stones thrown, consumer rights in high gear, and Lou Dobbs has gained traction.

But thorough all this, many are wondering what the real impact will be. Will “Made in China” suffer, what will the impacts at the checkout counter be, and what does it all mean for those brands/ people in China who are manufacturing for export.

Well.. according to a NYT poll recently, it looks like cooler heads are prevailing (on the whole), and that the recent recalls have not damaged the “Made in China” brand – despite the efforts of some.

In fact, according to their study (full results can be downloaded here) that while a significant portion of the resppndants did think products made in China were more unsafe than those made in other areas

55 percent, said the recent wave of recalls just created a perception that Chinese imports are more harmful than imports from other countries.

and this “perception” of harm, while detouring some respondents (14%) from purchasing goods “Made in China”, has not detoured the majority (65% haven’t stopped).

As a brief aside, and more related to the overall trade policy, one of the most interesting questions asked in my eyes was “When it comes to international trade, should the United States now give the same privileges to China that it gives to other friendly nations?”.

Why it is interesting is that they have asked this question over 5 different time periods:

  • Should – 1990 (52%) – 2000 (45%) – 2007 (45%)
  • Should Not – 1990 (37%) – 2000 (40%) – 2007 (38%)

Two reasons why this is interesting

  1. While China’s economy took off, and exports blew up, from 2000 to 2007, it appears that fewer people were interest in treating China as well as they would other friendly nations…. Quite interesting considering the deflation China exported kept the American economy out of a deeper recession
  2. While the should nots stayed at about the same level, a number of people who initially supported in 1990, move to the don’t know category. this seems almost backwards given the timing. After all, 1990 was not really the best year to be promoting trade with China, and 2003 you could not find a hotter topic.

Again, you can get the full report here, and if you want to read up on their methodology, go here

In writing this up, I wondered something.  What results would come out of a study of 1001 average Americans when asked what the difference was between “Made in China” vs. “Made in America” and American vs. Chinese brands…. I bet that could get interesting.

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